Taking instruction from the immortal B-Real of Cypress Hill, it's time to figure out why the Indians are 12-18 and 11 1/2 games back of the White Sox. I know that I said that I would reserve judgement until we hit the quarter pole (40 games), but something's gotta give.
Things that need to happen now
- Scott Elarton (or as he has been dubbed - "my boy") needs to be given his walking papers. He was picked up off of the scrap heap from Colorado and was a nice story, while certainly never blowing anybody away, but his time has come and gone. Let's call Brian Tallett up from the Herd (where he's pitching extremely well to the tune of 1-0, 2.10 ERA) and let him pitch every 5th. Giving Elarton the ball every fifth game was a message to the team and to fans that the Indians will never rip off more than 4 in a row. Elarton, to me, at best is a no decision; and at worst, a lopsided loss. If Tallett struggles, there are other options at Buffalo, just please no more Elarton.
- Send Jason Dangerously to Buffalo to give him one thing to focus on. It's time for the Indians' brass to decide if he's a starter or a reliever. This kid's getting signals from the Mariners dugout in the Naked Gun. They're coming fast and furious and they make no sense. Call it the Baez Syndrome, they're not sure where he should go, so they just keep him confused. He pitches 1 inning...He pitches 3 1/3 innings...He's a spot starter, etc. Enough. Send him to Buffalo to start or let him pitch in the 8th or 9th inning. My preference would be to make him a reliever in AAA. Let him get comfortable with a routine, get some confidence in a few pitches (not the 8 he tries to master as a starter) and ease his psyche into the idea that this is his future. Call Matt Miller back up to reward him for swallowing his pride and pitching well in Buffalo (2.08 ERA, 3 hits in 4 1/3 innings). There's still enough depth at Buffalo (Tadano: 2.22 ERA in 24 innings, Cabrera: 2.13 ERA with 18 K's & 1 BB in 12 2/3 inning) that if someone goes down, reserves are available.
- The offense is not as easy, though I'm through saying, "It's just a matter of time..." Wedge needs to set a lineup and stick with it. If that means Belliard leads off and plays every day, so be it. Let's get back to Hafner 3, The Stick 4, and maybe Broussard 5. I don't like seeing Broussard batting 3rd. I'll give the offense about 10 more games, and if we're still scuffling - well then,
Things That Can Happen at the 40 Game Mark
- Coco Crisp, unless he improves, will become the 4th outfielder that everyone thought he would always be. He can't hit consistently (particularly for power), he doesn't walk, and his arm is weak. Not your prototypical left fielder. The guess here is that whoever is ready to come back first (Gonzo or Jody G.) will come back to right, Blake will go to left, and Coco will become the 4th outfielder/pinch runner/Ruben Amaro type. I cannot believe that I just wrote that I'm holding a spot in the lineup for one of the Rehabbers, Juan Gone or Gerut.
- Ryan Garko may get a look. Where? I don't know, but he continues to tear apart every level that he plays at (.929 OPS in Buffalo). Maybe he platoons with Broussard, maybe the Indians work him into another position on the farm. Maybe I'm jumping the gun.
- Boone and Blake either need to step up or step aside. I'm not sold on Jose Hernandez playing 3rd, but what about Cora at short and Peralta at third? That would've been a ridiculous premise at the beginning of the season, but when my mom thinks that Boone should be cut, things are close to rock bottom.
- If nothing gets better, Eddie Murray takes the bullet for this team's struggles. I know that last year's team hit like crazy, but something has to change. Maybe Wayne Kirby can bring his batting acumen and huge lips on westbound trek on I-90 to try to save this sinking ship.
Maybe I'm grasping at straws, maybe I'm overreacting, but I can't listen to Hamilton call the play of this team, "just awful, in every sense of the game," and not have a reaction.
They're killing me softly.